By Eric Yun
Residents with damaged houses and cars from Thursday night’s storm ex- pecting federal or state aid may be disappointed.
“There’s no substitute for insurance,” Lynn Canton, Regional Director of FEMA Region 2, told residents on Tuesday night.
However, if Queens is designated as a disaster area, there may be some funds provided to residents. While most of the funds would be used to rehabilitate public areas such as MacDonald Park in Forest Hills—where the majority of trees were destroyed in the storm—FEMA funds could help cover some costs to uninsured homeowners or costs insurance companies will not cover.
These concerns, and more, were addressed at a town hall meeting held by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn and Queens) in Forest Hills.
There are a number of complicated requirements to gain federal assistance. Most importantly, approximately $25 million in damages needs to be documented.
This is why Weiner urged residents to continue calling 311 and taking pictures to document all the damage. Teams from the Office of Emergency Management were due to survey the area this past Wednesday to see if Queens will qualify.
The biggest concern in the community, however, was the ongoing cleanup efforts. Bob Holden from the Juniper Park Civic Association asked when hanging limbs were going to be removed. With the streets cleared, the limbs still present a clear danger of falling.
Adrian Benepe, New York City Park’s Commissioner, said the department is going to begin clearing dangerous limbs. The first priority was to clear major roadways so the trucks had the space to move closer.
There were also many complaints about utilities being restored. While Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Con Edison have made significant progress restoring services, there are still many homes left without telephones or cable service.
Weiner stressed that the city was doing a good job, but he sympathized with residents who felt the city was not moving fast enough.